NAACP and Norfolk Leaders Meet to Discuss Controversial Parade Float
NORFOLK - A meeting was held in one northeast Nebraska community that has been caught in the crossfire after what was supposed to be a family friendly event sparked nation wide attention.
Following what some saw as a controversial float in the Fourth of July parade in Norfolk. City leaders, representatives of the NAACP, and parade organizers, met in Norfolk Thursday night to discuss the controversy. Betty Andrews, President of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP wanted to share what the NAACP has heard from members throughout the state.
Andrews: We wanted to make sure that the Odd Fellows and the Mayor were able to hear those concerns, and also look at what we can do to improve those perceptions.
Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman also said that what has started as an unfavorable mark on the community has turned into a way to bring the larger community together.
Mayor Fuchtman: "We've come to learn what some of the concerns are of the citizens that maybe we aren't representing as well as we should, or maybe don't feel comfortable that they have a voice in the community."
Fuchtman said that moving ahead the city plans to find ways to engage with minority citizens to have a better heard voice in the community.
Members of the Odd Fellows Lodge, the group who sponsors the annual Fourth of July parade, said that following this year's parade, the group plans to reevaluate the policies for what is allowed in the parade, how entrants are screened, and also plan to make the parade committee a more diverse group.
Representatives of the United States Department of Justice's Community Relations Service also sat in the meeting, however, the City of Norfolk and NAACP members say that their role in the meeting was minimal and said that there is no investigation into the July 4th incident.